Management is not only a science, but also an art; not just a social behaviour, but also a social culture (Pratt, 2000). The extension of aesthetics in management is gradually coming into being, and this kind of study aims to seek the truth, the goodness and the beauty in human organization and the world. This is not only a need of modern management, but also a development of modern life and aesthetics itself.
The development of management is accompanied by the progress of social civilization, and is evolving to incorporate humanization, science and globalization. The status of ‘people’ in enterprise is constantly improving. People are gradually realizing that people are the main purpose of management and the object of management. It is the contention of this study that only if beauty is permeating the human consciousness and activities can the human’s potential be really activated so as to achieve the best management results. This paper seeks to contribute thoughts on how a company can utilize the conception and practice of beauty within organization.
The paper aims to employ in-depth interviews in order to study the understanding of Chinese managers in relation to the concept of organizational beauty and how it is applied to daily management, along with how to build all-round organizational beauty within a company. This paper mainly focuses on organizational beauty in the context of China. Close to a dozen Chinese managers would be interviewed in order to ascertain their views on organizational beauty and how they apply organizational beauty in their daily management.
With the popularization of management knowledge, people have become familiar with the concept of scientific and democratic decision-making, and they have gradually become the standard norm in management. In recent years, researches by domestic and foreign scholars on emotional factors in the Chinese traditional culture explores the integration of cultural and modern management with emotional factors and aesthetics management has drawn people’s attention. It is still a new area, however, and has yet to be taken seriously by both the researchers and practioners of management alike.
In the history of the development of management science, which is founded by Taylor (1856–1915) about a century ago, it has gone through four stages: classical management, behavioural science management, management science and, since the beginning of the 1980s, the corporate culture management stage. The theory of management science can be regarded as a new form of classical management theory, emphasizing the prominent role of scientific rationality in management. Corporate culture management theory is to a certain extent a new development of behavioural science management theory, emphasizing the management of human emotional factors (Peng,2013, p12). To date, however, there has been several theory of management aesthetics which emphasizes the important role of artistic factors in management.
Art and beauty have always been linked. They are the crystallization of human wisdom and the spirit of human creativity and embody a kind of harmony between subject and object (Strati, 1992). The ultimate goal of management and decision-making is the pursuit of human, natural and social harmony (Zhu, 2003). The purpose of the management of aesthetics is nothing but an emphasis on the aesthetics of management and decision-making, or the pursuit of the artistic beauty of management and decision-making, increase the efficiency of the company, and thus improve the company long term strenghth
The main study of Chinese managers (Chinese manager) (Organization Manager) (Organization manager of understanding and how they look at and apply to their daily management, and how to build up within the company all-round Organization Beauty category, And then through the establishment of these “Organization Beauty” in turn is how to affect their effectiveness and employee satisfaction, management and so on the positive aspects … can focus on the questionnaire and interviews with some typical Chinese-style managers, To understand their views and how to view and apply the “Organization Beauty” in the daily management … and then summed up some new theoretical points and theoretical basis for the back of the researchers to provide reference and research basis
This paper mainly studies Chinese managers’ understanding of the concept of organizational beauty and how they apply it in their daily management, along with how they build all-round organizational beauty within the company. We aim to ascertain how, through the establishment of organizational beauty, the effectiveness of employee satisfaction management and other aspects are affected. The study will employ an in-depth interview methodology. Several typical Chinese-style managers will be interviewed in order to obtain their views on this subject and how they apply organizational beauty in their daily management. This paper will mainly focus on organizational beauty in the context of China.
“Broadly, aesthetics is concerned with knowledge that is created from our sensory experiences. It also includes how our thoughts and feelings and reasoning around them inform our cognitions” (Li, 2004: p66). Aesthetics is a criterion by which we judge the environment. In organizations, a specific aesthetic was defined as beauty equated to Taylorism, or the scientiﬁc management of efficient organizations, which still dominates modern organizations. “In that sense, ‘it’s working beautifully’ (Li, 2004: p66) means that it is working smoothly, efﬁciently, exactly as planned—the realization of twentieth century management ideals of planning and control” (Li, 2004).
◆ Western modern aesthetics management
The behavioural science school deems that the aesthetics of management lies in interpersonal relationships and motivating people’s behaviour, emphasizing its importance to the organization of the individual’s needs and characteristics (Zhang, 2000). The coordination of interpersonal relationships has a decisive effect on the organization’s work efficiency, which coincides with the idea of working beautifully. According to the needs and characteristics of people setting up organizational positions and levels, this involves paying attention to the role of informal organizations, establishing a relationship between the upper and lower levels of governance, and emphasizing the distribution of jobs according to people’s interests and hobbies (Yin, 2000). The theory of behavioural science mainly includes organizational strain theory, interpersonal relationship theory, interest combination theory and decision type theory.
A. Beautiful mechanism: organizational strain theory
The main representative of organizational strain theory, Warren Bennis (1925–2014), stressed that the organizational form and mechanism should be constantly adjusted to the time and the environment, and always maintain fresh vitality and adaptability, stressing the management of human factors (Simpson, 1997). In particular, Bennis (1956) pointed out that the progress of scientific and technological revolution requires organizational ability to adapt to change, thus predicting that dull slow bureaucracy would disappear. Organizational strain theory reflects the management being constantly updated to keep up with the strain of human nature, human beauty and dynamic beauty. Organizations are like the human body, and in order to maintain strong vitality and present a beautiful body, it is necessary to continue to get rid of the stale and take in the fresh. Bureaucracy is a closed, rigid system and a pool of stagnant water. Where there is no source of water, there will be no running water, and where there is no running water, there must be filth and choking. The beauty of management according to organizational strain theory lies in its adaptability and movement (Sullivan, 2013).
B. Beautiful interpersonal relationships in management
The main representatives of the theory of interpersonal relationships are Carnegie, Mayo, Roethlisberger and Whitehead, the famous interpersonal movement researchers. They proposed interpersonal theory, which pointed out that the satisfaction of workers is related to production, increased employee satisfaction can improve work efficiency, and groups have a great influence on the behaviour of individuals (Sullivan, 2013). Communication channels should be established to exchange experiences and exchange information at all levels of the organizational hierarchy (Kiesler, 1997). Carnegie (2010) warned people that the road to success was to praise people’s advantages, which includes the humility of beauty, the respect of beauty and the beauty of tolerance. The beauty of the image of participation in management is an important factor in the interpersonal relationship movement. Interpersonal relations in itself is a manifestation of human nature, because communication must be friendly, mutually beneficial, equal, moral and reasonable, with material exchanges and respect as the premise, both of which have ethical and formal beauty. Participation in management is not only the embodiment of democratization, but also the embodiment of group wisdom. Interpersonal relationships and participation in management together constitute the management of harmony to achieve the highest state of beauty.(Zhang, 2000)
C. Beautiful scenario of win-win situation
The main representative of the interest combination theory is Mary P. Follett (1868–1933). Follett believed that contradictions within an organization and contradictions between the organization and the external environment can be resolved through combining the interests of both sides (Follett, 1942). In order to achieve interest for both sides, we must change the traditional definition of power and authority, advocating the impersonal order and obeying the law of the situation instead of obeying the individual. So-called impersonal orders are not orders or decisions given or made by one person or one side, but by two or more parties with a common interest as their target. The theory of interest combination embodies the principles of balance, incentive, honesty and management aesthetics, and also conforms to the beauty of human nature. Although it is profit-driven, but it still permeated by ethical beauty and formal beauty.
D. Beautiful decision-making processes
The main representative of decision theory is the Nobel laureate in economics, American scholar Simon (1916–2001). Simon (1965) believed that decision-making is the centre of management, running through the entire process of enterprise management (Abelson, 1985). The task of management is to pursue the rationality of decision-making. The organization as a decision-making system is composed of individuals, each of whom will participate in various forms of decision-making. To this end, the organizational structure design should be consistent with the type of decision-making process, which is the basis for the internal division of labour in the organization, the degree of decentralization and centralization, and the relationships between the functional staff, all of which should be consistent with the decision-making. At the same time, Simon made an in-depth analysis of the whole process of decision-making, guidelines, procedural decision-making and non-procedural decision-making, making decision-making a science rather than an experience. Decision theory reflects the high degree of intelligence of management, which is a beauty of scientific thinking and operation. With the premise that management is decision-making and the beauty of decision-making management is the beauty of management, so decision-making is the embodiment of thinking, and planning and management are the visualization of thinking. Decision-making is a hybrid of scientific thinking and intuitive experience, so decision theory is represented by the management of scientific beauty and thinking beauty (Abelson, 1985).
◆ Ancient Chinese management aesthetic thought
Two thousand years of Confucianism is the backbone of the Chinese traditional management culture. Confucian aesthetics of management can be seen from the following aspects.
A. Beauty of the guidance and constraint functions of management
Confucian management strategy puts more focus on the function of guidance; on the other hand, it emphasizes constraint. Guidance and restraint are a dialectical unity and the two arms of management. Confucius put forward the idea that binding people with rules and punishing them with penalties could prevent people from committing crime to a certain extent, but would not be helpful for them to acknowledge that the crime is shameful; if people are educated with morality and constrained by rules, people will not only have a sense of shame but can correct their own faults (Cheng, 2001).
B. Beauty of scientific talent selection
Confucianism pays attention to the selection of talents. Employees are the blood of the company. It is important to know how to recruit and promote the right people (Cheng, 2001). The beauty implied here is the sound and scientific talent selection process which is human based
C. Beauty of self-discipline
Confucian emphasizes the impact and exemplary role of the leaders. This is the ‘self-cultivation’ thinking of Confucius. Both man and animal have the ability to imitate (Zhang, 2000). Every move of the leader will have a big impact on the employees. Self-governance embodies not only the ethical requirements for moral cultivation, but also the requirements for aesthetic leadership and management. The behaviour of the manager himself has a great influence on, or even plays a decisive role in, organization policy, cultural phenomena and customs. From the aesthetic point of view, with beautiful behaviour and language to lead the employees, the employees will be affected and will beautify themselves (Zhang, 2000). Self-discipline is about the beauty of self-cultivation and self-governance. Disciplining others is the beauty of leadership and guidance.
D. Beauty of forgiveness and trust
This coincides with the idea of good interpersonal relationships in western theory. Do not blame the small mistake, do not bring up past issues and do not remember the resentment; otherwise the subordinates will be too cautious and so cannot show initiative and creativity (Cheng, 2001).
◆ The aesthetics of demand motivation
Incentives are an important part of the management process, and the most fundamental and most effective part, fully displaying the beauty of human nature in management activities. Demand motivation is the desire to meet people’s needs, mobilizing their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity (Abelson, 1985). Demand is the need for life, the need for survival and the need for development. The beauty that comes from these needs is real beauty, natural beauty. The aesthetics of demand motivation is mainly embodied in the following theories.
A. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the study of human needs by the American psychologist Maslow (Huitt, 2004). Maslow put forward the theory in The theory of human motivation, published in 1943. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs argues that needs are inherent, natural, subconscious and sequential, and that the needs that are satisfied are no longer the motivating factors (Maslow, 1943). The demand hierarchy is the overall inspiration from the material to the spirit, the organic integration of natural beauty and social beauty, the fully displayed beauty of human nature and personality in management. It is also a major achievement in instilling life aesthetics in management.
B. The need for achievement theory
The theory of achievement needs was put forward by Professor David McClelland, a psychologist of contemporary research on motivation. From the 1940s to the 1950s, he began to study the needs and motivations of people, putting forward the famous ‘three needs’ theory and drawing a series of important conclusions. David McClelland and colleagues (1976) proposed that people with a strong need for achievement are eager to do things more perfectly and more easily to arrive at greater success. In the process of pursuing success, they enjoy overcoming difficulties, solving problems, working hard and having fun, and experience a personal sense of accomplishment. Individual achievements need to be related to the degree of economic, cultural, social and political development in which they are located. Social climate also restricts people’s achievement needs.
C. Expectancy theory
Expectancy theory was put forward by the famous American psychologist and behaviourist, Yale University Professor Victor H. Vroom. Vroom believed that the degree to which people can be motivated by an activity depends on the expected value multiplied by the expected probability of achieving the result (Heneman, 1972).
D. Equity theory
The theory of equity is a motivation theory put forward by American behavioural scientist Adams. The theory focuses on rationality and fairness and the influence of wage compensation on enthusiasm for production. From a psychological point of view, the theory of equity is about achieving psychological balance in management. Psychological balance is a very important psychological need of people: once psychological imbalance appears, it will lead to psychological metamorphosis, and psychological abnormalities will lead to abnormal behaviour. Psychological balance is not only for the interest, but also for the needs of aesthetic vision; it is a balanced beauty. Balanced beauty is both a physical phenomenon and a form of beauty.
◆ Research questions
- What is Chinese managers’ understanding of organizational beauty and how is their understanding of organization manifested in managerial behaviour? And how is their understanding on organizational beauty formed?
- How do they create a beautiful organization? And how does the beautiful organization impact the employees?
This study will employ an in-depth interview method. In-depth interview plays an important role in today’s sociology (Churchill, 1999). In this method, the semi-structured is commonly used (Arksey and Knight, 1999). As one branch of qualitative research, the in-depth interview is a kind of direct, one-to-one form of interview. In-depth interviews are conducted by investigators with advanced interview skills to reveal potential motivations, attitudes and emotions in respect of a particular problem, and are most often applied in exploratory investigations. Areas of application include learning more about complex behaviours and sensitive topics, or interviews with top executives, experts and government officials. In my study, the in-depth interview is mainly to obtain relevant information on Chinese organization managers’ understanding of the concept of organizational beauty, how they apply it in their daily management and how they build all-round organization beauty within the company.
Interviewees selected. This study would choose more experienced managers as interviewees because their greater experience allows them to have more in-depth and professional views and knowledge. In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the beauty of the organization, the study will interview 12 managers from a range of companies from the construction industry, the IT industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Content of interviews. The main content is as follows: basic information on the respondents; understanding of and developmental process of organizational beauty and job performance; and understanding of the relationship between organizational beauty and job performance. How did the managers try to create beautiful organization? The questions include specific closed ended questions and open ended questions. Memoranda would be prepared to record the contents of the interview.
The interviewer will collect the data and records, and analyse the content of the interview. The paper will mainly employ descriptive analysis, gathering the opinions of the managers on aesthetic management—for example, regarding the issue of promoting talent, the question being asked is: what is the primary concern when selecting staff for promotion? A key analysis method that would be used is triangulation (author)
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